by Norman Zollinger ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 22, 1981
From the author of Riders to Cibola (1978): a slow-moving but ambitious and lyrical western, modeled on Wild Bill Shakespeare's Coriolanus. Corey Lane is the towering, ironfisted, unbendable and monolithically honor-mad sheriff of Black Springs, New Mexico. Years earlier he defeated Apache chief Cochise, making a name for himself, and he has recently bested Victorio--the leader of some Membrenos, Mescaleros, and Comanches who have banded together and left their Indian Agency rancheria (the biggest war party since Cochise). Meanwhile, a mob of farmers at Black Springs is ready to ride against Will-Ed's hated ranchers--who have thrown a new earth dam across Sinuoso Creek and strangled its tributaries. So, just as the mob moves toward battle, Corey Lane rides into town and quells them with a fearless sneer, turning them to sheep. (Such is his titanic elitism, bred and built into him by his cold, commanding rawhide mother Alicia, an almost holy ardor as yet untempered even by his warm wife Virgie.) And now he leads the hated Will-Ed ranchers (the defused townsfolk he thinks are too cowardly to soldier well) against Victorio: through brilliant strategy he defeats the Indian leader once again--thrice wounded but striding through flying lead to effect the battle's turning point. Will the Territory's Governor Lew (Ben Hut) Wallace appoint Corey Lane senator, since Corey can't bear despicable democratic elections? The worst happens: Corey turns renegade (""I have no people""), joins Victorio, and readies the Indians for a holy war beginning with a massacre at Black Springs; and in a break in the battle, Alicia and Virgie ride out to stop this perfect soldier--as the tragedy bursts forth. Plodding yet often stately and expansive: an interesting notion which may intrigue Shakespeareans as well as the more serious western-ers.
Pub Date: Oct. 22, 1981
Page Count: -
Publisher: Ticknor & Fields
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1981
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